World leaders and New Yorkers alike are condemning President Trump’s vulgar comments about Haiti and African countries as racist.
All 54 African ambassadors to the United Nations issued an extraordinary statement saying they were concerned about the “continuing and growing trend from the US administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of color.”
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power shared her stunned reaction to the statement on social media.
“Whoa. I’ve never seen a statement like this by African countries directed at the United States,” she wrote. “After an emergency mtng today @UN, Africa group says it ‘is extremely appalled at...outrageous & xenophobic remarks’ attributed to Trump & ‘demands a retraction and an apology.’ ”
The ambassadors issued their response to Trump following an emergency meeting held Friday about the President’s use of crass language to reject an immigration bill.
He asked lawmakers discussing immigration why the U.S. would take in more people from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa.
The diplomats’ statement concluded with a reaffirmation to their commitment to the values of “multilateralism, diversity and equality of nations as enshrined in the relevant African Union and UN charter and instruments.”
While Trump has publicly denied making the remarks, he reportedly called close friends to weigh their reactions to the controversy, denied he was racist and blamed the media for distorting the meaning of his words.
But Trump has long been accused of being racist, going back to the 1970s when he was accused of keeping blacks and Hispanics from renting apartments. His crusade against the “Central Park Five” included calling for the death penalty.
He also questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship and made derogatory remarks about several different ethnic groups while campaigning for president.
While Trump and his supports believe that he speaks for the “forgotten men and women” of America, many in his hometown are fuming.
Sheikh Musa Drammeh, a 54-year-old Gambian immigrant and social activist who has called the Bronx home for 30 years, said he wasn’t shocked by the remarks, but said they point to a larger problem.
“I think the Trump statements should not be just isolated or identified with Trump, but the fact that Trump is where he is is the broader issue,” Drammeh told the Daily News. “There are his supporters and his party members who are not rushing out of the door. That’s what this is really about. We need to take note of that.”
“There hasn’t been a single unifying message from him,” Drammeh added. “It’s been one divisive statement, one racist statement after another. We are moving toward a very, very destructive reality.”
Francis Antwi, 33, a Hartford, Conn., resident originally from Ghana, agreed.
“I was pissed when I saw what he said. But it kind of didn’t even surprise me,” Antwi, who spent 12 months in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army, told The News. “Since the beginning of his campaign I saw him as a racist. People act surprised now when he says things, but how could you? He assaults women, has said racist things from the beginning, but now he has to apologize? No, I’m not surprised.”
Aaron Offe, 34, an immigrant from Ghana who now lives in the Bronx said Trump has not only hurt America’s standing in the world but also deepened racial divides within the U.S.
“I feel this place is more divided, in Ghana it is not like that,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, you are accepted, here not so much.”
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Saturday echoed other African leaders, calling Trump’s remark “extremely unfortunate” and said that “we will not accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful.”
Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe also issued a scathing takedown in response to Trump’s remarks.
“Uncalled for moreover it shows a lack a respect and IGNORANCE never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President! Enough is enough!!” he tweeted.
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